Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quick US Mint Product Updates

Before the weekend, I wanted to provide some new information on various US Mint products. This includes sales figures for the 2010-P Hot Springs Silver Coins, and release information for the Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coin and 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle.

2010-P Hot Springs 5 Ounce Uncirculated Coins

Sales of this highly anticipated product began at the United States Mint yesterday at 12:00 Noon ET. After taking more than 6,000 orders in the first hour, the US Mint's website went down and stayed down for about 45 minutes.

Prior to the start of sales, website problems were expected and the US Mint warned customers that they may encounter delays. By the Mint's own admission, they have "an antiquated order management system". While replacing the system is a priority, it won't happen until mid-2012.

Sales continued throughout the day at a rapid pace, but it was not fast enough to result in a one day sell out. As reported on Coin Update News, through April 28, 2011 at 9:00 PM ET, the US Mint had accepted more than 19,000 orders in total. This accounts for more than 70% of the total mintage of 27,000 coins.

At the time of this post, the coins still remain available for sale on the US Mint's website.

Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coins

The US Mint will begin sales of the Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coins next week on May 5, 2011. This issue was originally scheduled to be released on March 3, but the release was delayed without any official explanation.

A maximum mintage of 15,000 coins across proof and uncirculated versions has been announced. This is the same mintage level that was in place for the 2010 releases, except for the Mary Todd Lincoln Coin, which was set at 20,000.

If the US Mint follows prior procedures sales of the Abigail Fillmore coins will end to coincide with the start of sales for the Eliza Johnson coins. Currently, only the proof version of the Abigail Fillmore coin remains available. The last reported sales were 6,093.

2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle

Also on May 5, 2011, the US Mint will begin sales of the 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle. This will be the first collectible uncirculated Gold Eagle issued by the US Mint since 2008. These coins are struck on specially burnished blanks and carry the "W" mint mark.

Only a one ounce coin will be available. The fractional weight versions were previously announced as discontinued.

There will be no ordering limits and no stated maximum mintage levels. Pricing will be based on the average price of gold leading up to the release. If gold remains within the $1,500 to $1,549.99 range, then the coins would be $1,778 each.

Additional coverage of these two upcoming releases will be provided next week.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2010 Hot Springs National Park 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin

Tomorrow April 28, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the 2010 Hot Springs National Park 5 oz. Silver Uncirculated Coin. This is the first numismatic version of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins to be released.
The coins are struck in 5 troy ounces of .999 fine silver and have a diameter of 3 inches. The weight and fineness are indicated on incused edge lettering. The designs for the coin are identical to the circulating quarter dollar and the previously issued 5 oz silver bullion version.

These numismatic versions carry the "P" mintmark for Philadelphia and feature a brilliant uncirculated finish. The coins are encapsulated and placed in a presentation case with a certificate of authenticity. The mintage is limited to 27,000 coins, which is less than the 33,000 mintage for the bullion version.

The price for each uncirculated 2010-P Hot Springs 5 oz. Silver Coin will be $279.95. This represents a premium about $46.35 or 19.84% above the metal value based on a silver price of $46.72 per ounce.

Notice of the product pricing was officially published on April 18, when the market price of silver was less than $43 per ounce. As the price of silver subsequently moved towards $50 per ounce, there was some speculation as to whether the US Mint would be forced to increase the product price. However, so far, there has been no indication that the price of $279.95 will be changed.

The US Mint will impose an ordering limit of one coin per household. This limit will remain in place for at least the first week of sales, after which point it may be extended, increased, or removed.

With a limited mintage and considerable interest from collectors. A sell out is widely expected. The main question is how long will it take?

The last rapid sell out for a "one per household" US Mint product was for the 2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set. This product was limited to 50,000 units and priced at $55.95 each. By 5:00 PM ET on the first day of availability, the US Mint had sold 29,919 sets. It took until the following day at 6:00 PM ET (30 hours of availability), for a complete sell out of all 50,000 units.

The product page for the 2010 Hot Springs National Park Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin can be found on the US Mint's website here. Ordering options will not be available until the official start of sales tomorrow at 12:00 Noon ET.

2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins

Earlier this week, the US Mint made the first two designs of the 2011 ATB Silver Bullion Coins available to authorized purchasers. The bullion releases for this year will have significantly higher mintages than the previous year. The initial mintage level has been indicated at 126,500 for each of the first two designs, with a goal of maintaining at least this minimum mintage level for the following three designs.

On the opening day of availability, US Mint authorized purchasers placed orders for 153,400 coins. Each authorized purchaser was limited to a specific allocated quantity and could only purchase the 2011-dated bullion coins if they certified that all prior year coins were sold in accordance with the special terms and conditions imposed.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Proof Gold Eagle Sales Figures

The initial sales figures are now available for the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles. These coins went on sale last week on April 21, one day after the market price of gold broke above the $1,500 level.

2011 Proof Gold Eagle Sales
1 ounce 7,249
1/2 ounce 1,159
1/4 ounce 1,313
1/10 ounce 3,680
4 Coin Set 3,988

The figures above represent sales through April 24, 2011, and come from the weekly Coin Update News US Mint sales report. The numbers are down by about 50% for each product option from the initial sales levels for last year's coins.

Leading up to the offering, there certainly seemed to be less excitement compared to the 2010 release. At that time, the return of the Proof Gold Eagle following a one year cancellation had captured collector's attention, and there was plenty of pent up demand following a lengthy period of unavailability.

For this year's release, a lot of collector focus was still devoted to the America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver coins. Also the circumstances of the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles were more typical, with an early release date and little doubt about the status of the offering.

Despite the drop from the prior year sales levels, figures are well ahead of the early sales numbers for the 2008-dated coins. The chart below shows the initial sales figures for the 2008, 2010, and 2011 Proof Gold Eagles. The numbers for the 2008 release reflect the first six days of sales, while the other numbers represent the first three days of sales.

Initial Proof Gold Eagle Sales Figures

2011 2010 2008
1 ounce 7,249 13,980 3,120
1/2 ounce 1,159 2,173 598
1/4 ounce 1,313 2,780 518
1/10 ounce 3,680 6,945 1,347
4 Coin Set 3,988 7,147 1,691

Price Increase for 2011 Proof Gold Eagles?

When the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles went on sale, they were priced based on an average gold price in the $1,450 to $1,499.99 range. The price of gold is currently just above the $1,500 level, creating the possibility for a price increase tomorrow. The calculation will probably come right down to the wire, determined by the Wednesday PM London Fix price.

The US Mint calculates the average gold price based on the London Fix prices from the prior Thursday AM to the current Wednesday AM. Furthermore, the Wednesday PM price must agree directionally with the change. For the present period, London markets were closed on Friday and Monday.

London Gold Fix Prices
Apr 21 Thurs AM 1507.00
Thurs PM 1504.00
Apr 22 Fri AM N/A
Fri PM N/A
Apr 25 Mon AM N/A
Mon PM N/A
Apr 26 Tues AM 1505.00
Tues PM 1497.50
Apr 27 Wed AM ?

By my calculation, a price increase will take place if the Wednesday AM price is $1,486.50 or higher and the Wednesday PM price is $1,500 or higher.

A pricing increase would impact the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles, 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo, Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Gold Coin, and Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Gold Coins.


Monday, April 25, 2011

2011 Presidential $1 Coin Uncirculated Set

The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011 Presidential Dollars Uncirculated Set on April 27, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. The coins included in this year's set feature Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield.
One example from the US Mint facilities at Philadelphia and Denver are included for each release, for a total of eight coins. These are mounted in an illustrated folder that includes biographical information for each President.

The front of the folder is slightly modified from the design used for 2007 to 2010 sets, in order to incorporate the US Mint's new branding. The four sections including portraits of each president are reduced slightly in size and a black bar is added at the bottom with the US Mint logo and Treasury Department seal.

Each set is priced at $19.95 plus applicable shipping and handling. This is an increase of $1 from last year's comparable product.

While it is not specified in the press release or preliminary product page, presumably these uncirculated coins carry the "brilliant finish" used for the 2011 Uncirculated Mint Set. Last year, a satin finish was used for the annual mint set and Presidential Dollar Uncirculated Set.

The 2010-dated set went on sale more than a year ago. Through the most recent sales report, the US Mint has sold 95,254 units. In the prior year, the 2009-dated set had last reported sales of 105,059 units.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Silver Melt Values for Proof Sets and Mint Sets

In the past week, the price of silver rose by more than 8% to close at $46.86 per ounce. The continued rapid rise in silver has had the obvious consequence of increasing the melt values for silver coins. The values of US Mint Proof and Uncirculated Coin Sets have also seen a dramatic rise.

For tracking the silver values of individual coins, I recommend With this post, I wanted to provide information on the silver values for modern era proof sets and mint sets. These sets may contain multiple silver coins in addition to base metal coins, so the values can take a bit of calculation.

The table below shows various categories of proof sets and mint sets issued by the US Mint, as well as the 40% silver Eisenhower Dollars issued in the 1970's. The silver content of the set in troy ounces is shown, followed by the silver value calculated based on $46.86 per ounce, other face value of non silver coins, and a total.

Silver Content and Values for Proof Sets and Mint Sets

Silver oz. Silver value Other FV Total
1950-1964 Proof Sets 0.61487 $ 28.70 $ 0.06 $ 28.76
1959-1964 Mint Sets 1.22974 $ 57.40 $ 0.12 $ 57.52
1965-1967 Special Mint Sets 0.1479 $ 6.90 $ 0.41 $ 7.31
1968-1970 Proof Sets 0.1479 $ 6.90 $ 0.41 $ 7.31
1968-1970 Mint Sets 0.1479 $ 6.90 $ 0.83 $ 7.73
1971-1974 Blue Ikes 0.3161 $ 14.76 0 $ 14.76
1971-1974 Brown Ikes 0.3161 $ 14.76 0 $ 14.76
1976 3 pc Silver Proof Set 0.5379 $ 25.11 0 $ 25.11
1976 3 pc Silver Mint Set 0.5379 $ 25.11 0 $ 25.11
1992-1998 Silver Proof Sets 0.61487 $ 28.70 $ 0.06 $ 28.76
1999 Silver Proof Set 1.33823 $ 62.47 $ 0.06 $ 62.53
2000-2003, 2006 Silver Proof Sets 1.33823 $ 62.47 $ 1.06 $ 63.53
2004-2005 Silver Proof Sets 1.33823 $ 62.47 $ 1.11 $ 63.58
2007-2008 Silver Proof Sets 1.33823 $ 62.47 $ 5.06 $ 67.53
2009 Silver Proof Set 1.51907 $ 70.91 $ 5.09 $ 76.00
2010-2011 Silver Proof Sets 1.33823 $ 62.47 $ 5.06 $ 67.53
2004-2008 Silver Quarters Proof Sets 0.9042 $ 42.21 0 $ 42.21
2009 Quarters Silver Proof Set 1.08504 $ 50.65 0 $ 50.65
2010-2011 Silver Quarters Proof Sets 0.9042 $ 42.21 0 $ 42.21

For anyone unfamiliar with some of these products or the silver content, the sets from 1964 and earlier contain 90% silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars. The proof sets contain one of each denomination, while the mint sets contain two (one from Philadelphia and one from Denver). The silver content of each coin is 0.07234 ounces (dime), 0.18084 (quarter), and .36169 (half dollar).

From 1965 to 1970, the half dollar was struck in a composition of 40% silver with silver content of 0.1479 ounces. The special mint sets, proof sets, and mint sets of this era each contained one half dollar, with the remaining coins in base metal compositions.

From 1971 to 1974, the US Mint struck Eisenhower Dollars in a composition of 40% silver for direct sale to collectors. These coins have silver content of 0.3161 ounces.

In 1976, proof and uncirculated 3 piece sets were produced which contained the Bicentennial design quarter, half dollar, and dollar coins struck in 40% silver. The silver content for each coin was 0.0739 ounces (quarter), 0.1479 (half dollar), and 0.3161 (dollar).

Starting in 1992, the US Mint produced Silver Proof Sets with the dime, quarter, and half dollar struck in 90% silver. The silver content matches the pre-1965 coins. For the 1999-2008 50 State Quarters Program, each set included 5 quarters, and for the 2009 DC & US Territories Program each set included 6 quarters. Separate sets including just the 90% silver quarters have been available from 2004 to present.

Currently, the US Mint has suspended sales of the 2010 and 2011 Silver Proof Set and Silver Quarters Proof Sets. Sales were halted when the silver melt values for each set began to approach the issue prices.


2011 ATB Silver Bullion Coin Sales

On April 25, 2011, the US Mint will begin sales of the first two designs for the 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. The coins will feature Gettysburg National Military Park and Glacier National Park.

As previously indicated, the initial mintage level will be 126,500 units per design. With the greater number of coins available, the US Mint will not impose the same type of terms and conditions that applied to the distribution of the low mintage 2010-dated issues.

The terms and conditions which applied to the 2010 ATB Silver Bullion coins resulted in collectors having to deal directly with the authorized purchasers to acquire the coins. As covered in some previous posts (here and here), this was sometimes a relatively straightforward process, but other times more complicated or restricted.

Without terms imposed for the 2011-dated releases, generally, the coins should be easier to acquire. The typical pattern of distribution is for the US Mint to sell directly to their authorized purchasers based on the market price of the metals plus a mark up. The coins are then resold to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, and/or the public.

Following this chain of distribution, the 2011 ATB Silver bullion coins should be available from a variety of sources that typically sell US Mint bullion products. Although the authorized purchasers are no longer required to sell directly to the public, some have indicated that they will make the coins available for direct retail sales.

I have just posted an article on Coin Update that summarizes the information that authorized purchasers have provided regarding direct sales. At this time, Fidelitrade, MTB Inc., and APMEX have all confirmed that they will sell the coins retail.

Check out the full article for details:
2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins Distribution


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Proof Gold Eagles

The US Mint will begin sales of the 2011 American Gold Eagle Proof Coins on April 21, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. Although this will no doubt prove to be a popular offering, this year's release seems to lack some of the excitement and pent up demand experienced last year.
The 2010 Proof Gold Eagles had been released following the cancellation of the 2009-dated coins, and a period of more than 18 months during which proof Gold Eagles were not available for purchase from the US Mint. Secondary market prices for prior year issues had risen dramatically due the lack of new supply. When the coins were released late in the year on October 7, initial sales levels were three to five times higher than comparable figures for the 2008-dated coins.

Ultimately, the 2010 Proof Gold Eagles only remained available for sale for roughly four months, until all options sold out. The US Mint did not strike the coins to the full extent of the authorized production levels, possibly due to timing, conservative demand forecasts, or blank supplies.

This year, the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles are being released within the typical time frame, which should provide for a longer period of availability. There was never much doubt as to the release of this years issue, which had a release date set before the start of the year. The demand for bullion coins, which had previously caused delays and cancellations, is not as much of an issue. While US Mint gold bullion sales are strong, the coins are currently not subject to allocation (rationing) and furthermore the US Mint now has the legal flexibility to produce numismatic coins in any case.

The one factor generating some extra excitement and a sense of urgency is the record price of gold. Gold passed the $1,500 per ounce level for the first time yesterday and continues to set new highs. Higher gold prices result in higher product prices for the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles, and likely price increases during the course of the offering.

As in the past, the US Mint will produce the coins in one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce sizes. Each of these coins will be available individually or as part of a complete 4 coin set. Maximum production levels for each option have been announced. For some options, the levels have been increased from the prior year.

The pricing for the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles will be based on the average price of gold based on the London fix prices from last Thursday AM to this Wednesday AM, which falls within the $1,450 to $1,499.99 range. Prices for the coins will be adjusted weekly if the average price moves into a higher or lower tier.

The production limits, mintage limits, and pricing for the upcoming offering is shown below.
2011 American Gold Eagle Proof Coins

Product Limit Mintage Limit Initial Price
1 oz. 30,000 70,000 $1,735.00
1/2 oz. 15,000 55,000 $881.00
1/4 oz. 16,000 56,000 $453.00
1/10 oz. 30,000 70,000 $195.50
4 Coin Set 40,000 N/A $3,215.50

The US Mint also plans to offer the 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle next month, with a release date set for May 5, 2011. This collectible uncirculated version of the coin with the "W" mint mark is expected to be available in one ounce size only. The last time this collector version of the Gold Eagle was offered was back in 2008.


Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Uncirculated Coin Set

The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Uncirculated Coin Set tomorrow, April 19, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. This is one of several separate sets developed for the new quarter program.
The 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters feature: Gettysburg National Military Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

The upcoming set includes uncirculated versions of the 2011 quarters minted at Philadelphia and Denver. The ten-coin set is priced at $21.95, which remains unchanged from the price of last year's set.

The US Mint indicates that the coins included in this set feature a "brilliant uncirculated finish." This seems to be the same "brilliant finish" that was recently adopted for the 2011 Uncircualted Mint Set.

Last year, the 2010 ATB Uncirculated Coin Set included coins with the "satin finish." Since this set went on sale November 23, 2010, the US Mint has recorded sales of 24,553 units. The product continues to remain available for sale.

2011 Silver Proof Sets

Earlier today, the US Mint suspended sales of the 2011 Silver Proof Set and 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set. On Friday, I had mentioned such a possibility, as the price of silver exceed $42 per ounce.

In order to adjust prices for products not included under the US Mint's gold and platinum numismatic pricing policy, new prices must be published in the Federal Register. This process can take several weeks, during which time sales are suspended.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quick US Mint News Updates

There are a number of items related to US Mint product offerings that I wanted to cover before the weekend. As in the past, I will provide quick coverage of separate topics within the same post.

2011 Proof Gold Eagles

The US Mint has provided information on the upcoming release of the 2011 American Gold Eagle Proof coins. As in prior years, the coins will be available in individual one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce sizes, as well as a four coin set.

The stated product limit for each option is shown below. The mintage limit, which is composed of the product limit from individual sales plus multi-coin sets, is also shown.

Product Limit Mintage Limit
1 oz. 30,000 70,000
1/2 oz. 15,000 55,000
1/4 oz. 16,000 56,000
1/10 oz. 30,000 70,000
4 Coin Set 40,000

The product limits for some options have been increased from the levels of the prior year. The individual one ounce has been increased by 5,000 units, the individual one-tenth ounce by 3,000 units, and the 4 coin set by 1,000. When the coins were available last year, the US Mint did not produce the coins to the full extent of the product limits. See the final 2010 Proof Gold Eagle sales in this post.

Pricing for the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles will depend on the average London Fix price of gold from yesterday's Thursday AM to next week's Wednesday AM price. If the average price stays within the $1,450 to $1,499.99 range, then the prices for each option would be as shown below.

1 oz. $ 1,735.00
1/2 oz. $ 881.00
1/4 oz. $ 453.00
1/10 oz. $ 195.50
4 Coin Set $ 3,215.50

These prices are proportionally $150 higher for each ounce of gold content when compared to the initial pricing for the prior year release. This follows the increase in the market price of gold.

I will have a full post on this important product offering closer to the release date.

Suspension coming for 2011 Silver Proof Sets?

Late last week, the US Mint suspended sales of the 2010 Silver Proof Set and 2010 ATB Quarters Silver Proof Set. At the time, the price of silver had just broken above the $40 per ounce level. Sales of the 2011-dated sets were allowed to continue, presumably because these were already priced a few dollars higher.

At the time of writing this post, the price of silver has now risen to $42.59 per ounce, which may put the 2011 Silver Proof Sets at risk of suspension and eventual repricing.

The 2011 Silver Proof Set contains 1.33823 troy ounces of silver, now worth $57.00. With the additional face value for the base metal coins included in the set, the value of the set is $62.06, compared to the current US Mint price of $67.95.

The 2011 ATB Quarters Silver proof Set contains 0.90420 troy ounces of silver, worth $38.51, compared to the current US Mint price of $41.95.

2010 Grand Canyon Quarter Three Coin Set on Sale

On April 13, 2011, the US Mint began sales of the America the Beautiful Quarters Three Coin Set for the Grand Canyon design.

Each set includes uncirculated versions of the quarter from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints and a proof version of the quarter from the San Francisco Mint. The three coins are mounted on a plastic card, which contains a description of the site and coin design, as well as a certificate of authenticity.

The sets are priced at $14.95 each. As mentioned in previous posts about this product type, this is an incredible mark up above the cost of the coins if acquired through the annual sets.

Nonetheless, the US Mint does manage to sell a relatively large number of the sets, with sales of 17,233, 17,022, and 14,451 for the previously released Hot Springs, Yellowstone, and Yosemite three coin sets.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Spouse Gold Coins Update

There are several items of interest related to the First Spouse Gold Coins. Another issue has sold out, the long delayed Eliza Johnson coin has a release date, and a price increase will likely take place shortly.

James Buchanan's Liberty

As of Monday, the uncirculated version of the James Buchanan's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin has sold out. This joins the proof version of the coin which sold out more unexpectedly on February 8, 2011.

Based on the most recent US Mint sales report published yesterday, the US Mint has sold 5,364 of the Buchanan's Liberty uncirculated coins. The proof version of the coin had last reported sales of 7,304.

On the same sales report, figures for some of previously sold out First Spouse coins were adjusted lower by significant amounts. The uncirculated Jane Pierce coin was lowered by 158 to 3,333. The uncirculated Abigail Fillmore was reduced by 98 coins to 3,489.

Eliza Johnson

When the US Mint published their initial product release schedule for 2011, the Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coins had a release date of March 3, 2011 indicated. A few weeks before the expected launch, the date was changed to "TBD". Although no confirmation was ever provided by the US Mint, the delay was presumably related to the second round of design candidates prepared for review by the CFA and CCAC.

A release date of May 5, 2011 has now been indicated for the Eliza Johnson gold coins and bronze medal. This will represent a very late start for the series this year. From 2008 to 2010, the first release of the year had taken place by mid-March.

No modification has been made to the release date for the Julia Grant First Spouse Gold Coin. At this time, it is still listed as June 2, 2011, less than a month after the Eliza Johnson release. However, as we know, all release dates are subject to change.

Price Increase

The average London Fix gold price for the prior week and the current market gold price suggest that another pricing adjustment for the available First Spouse Gold Coins.

The price increase, which should take place shortly, will bring the cost of the proof versions of the First Spouse series to $904 and the uncirculated versions to $891. These will be the highest issue prices on record for the series.

The only First Spouse coins still available for purchase from the US Mint are the proof Abigail Fillmore and the proof and uncirculated Mary Todd Lincoln Coins.

Pricing for the 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo would also be adjusted higher to $1,760 per coin. When first offered for sale on June 3, 2010, the coins were priced at $1,510 each.

Coin Update News article

Last, I wanted to highlight an article by Louis Golino just published on Coin Update News. He suggests that the size of the coin should be reduced to one-quarter ounce in order to ensure the sustainability of the series. The suggested change, which could only be accomplished by an Act of Congress, would likely put US Mint issue prices around the levels that were in place for the start of the program in 2007.

Read the full article:
First Spouse Gold Coins Should Be Changed to Quarter Ounce Size


2010 ATB Silver Bullion Update

More authorized purchasers have made their 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins available for sale. Because of the US Mint's terms and conditions for the distribution of the coins, pricing is below melt value.

A few weeks ago, I provided information on some AP's selling their allotments through relatively accessible means. This time around, the order process is more complicated or restricted, but I wanted to present the information for any interested readers.

Dillon Gage had previously indicated that their allotment was sold out. However, a few days ago, they announced that they had a "limited quantity" available. This may have been due to some of the original orders being canceled as duplicates or for other reasons.

Five coin sets of the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins are available for $937.00 including shipping and handling, or $1,025.00 for Texas residents.

Unfortunately, their ordering process is not very easy. A form must be completed, signed, and returned. Then, payment must be sent by bank wire only, presumably before any confirmation of order acceptance is provided. Sending funds via bank wire generally involves physically going to the bank and may incur a fee.

You can find their order form here.

APMEX has made their remaining allotment available, but only to certain people who have been selected to receive the opportunity to purchase them.

According to emails sent by APMEX, there were 18,000 requests to order the coins. They selected 3,500 email addresses and provided these people with the opportunity to purchase one of 3,100 available sets. The coins are encapsulated in PCGS "Choice BU" holders and priced at $959.95 per set if paying by check or wire, or $988.75 for payment by credit card. For the group of selected email addresses, orders must be placed by April 15, 2011, midnight CST.

Their product page can be found online here. As mentioned, only those 3,500 people selected by APMEX can place orders. A reader whose email was not selected reported that the order cannot be completed at step 2 of the checkout process.


Continuing the theme of complicated ordering processes, another reader mentioned that Prudential is accepting orders for 5 coin sets at $862.70.

In order to attempt to purchase the coins, an account agreement form must be completed, a W-9 must be completed with a social security number, and a copy of a government issued photo ID must be provided. These forms and documentation must be sent along with a check to the New Accounts Department where it will be reviewed.

If your order is accepted, the coins are not immediately shipped to you. Rather they are held at Diamond State Depository, a separate company where you will need to open another account. Once this account is open, you can have DSD continue to store the coins for you or arrange delivery. Either option will involve fees, which are unspecified.

If anyone is willing to put up with all of that, the order form and further information can be found here.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pricing for Numismatic Hot Springs 5 oz. Silver Coin

The US Mint has provided pricing information on the upcoming Hot Springs 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin. This is the first of the numismatic or collector versions of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins.

The price is set at $279.95. The Mint cautions that as with all products containing precious metals, the price is subject to potential change.

Based on a silver price of $40 per ounce, this represents a premium of 40% above metal value. As expected, this is higher than the maximum 10% premium that the US Mint imposed on their authorized purchasers for sale of the bullion versions.

It's interesting to note that the price set by the US Mint is right around the secondary market prices currently being paid for the bullion versions. Recently completed auctions show basic 5 coin sets selling for around $1,400 each, which works out to $280 per coin. (Higher prices are paid for coins which have received high grades or special designations from the grading companies.)

The 2010 numismatic issues will have mintages of 27,000 per design, include the "P" mint mark, and have an uncirculated finish created through a vapor blasting technique. The Hot Springs design is scheduled to go on sale April 28, 2011. The remaining designs will presumably go on sale separately, at later dates.


Monday, April 11, 2011

US Mint Coin Production March 2011

Updated circulating coin production figures are available from the United States Mint, including coins struck during March 2011. The update also includes the preliminary production figures for the recently released Glacier National Park Quarter.

During March 2011, the US Mint produced 485.5 million coins for circulation at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. This is down moderately from the prior month when 523.14 million coins were struck, but up from the level of the year ago period at 384.42 million coins.

All denominations were produced during the latest month, except for the half dollar. The table below shows a breakdown of production by coin and mint facility for March and the current year to date total.
2011 US Mint Coin Production Figures

March 2011 YTD 2011
Lincoln Cent - Denver 128.00 M 535.20 M
Lincoln Cent - Phil. 210.40 M 537.20 M
Jefferson Nickel - Denver 20.16 M 100.32 M
Jefferson Nickel - Phil. 8.40 M 53.52 M
Roosevelt Dime - Denver 10.00 M 149.00 M
Roosevelt Dime - Phil. 43.50 M 126.00 M
Quarters - Denver 19.40 M 61.60 M
Quarters - Phil. 0 61.20 M
Kennedy Half - Denver 0 1.70 M
Kennedy Half - Phil. 0 1.75 M
Native Am Dollar - Denver 0 18.06 M
Native Am Dollar - Phil. 0.14 M 9.52 M
Pres Dollar - Denver 18.34 M 55.44 M
Pres Dollar - Phil. 27.16 M 62.72 M

Total 485.50 M 1,773.37 M

Across both mint facilities there were 338.40 million Lincoln Cents produced in the latest month. This accounts for nearly 70% of circulating coin production by volume. The year to date total has already exceeded the one billion mark.

The least produced denomination for the month was the quarter with just 19.4 million coins produced. Although the quarter has been called the "workhorse coin" of circulation, the need for newly produced coins has diminished due to the large number of quarters within Federal Reserve Banks inventories. This has resulted in frustration for anyone trying to collect the new America the Beautiful Quarters from circulation.

For the month, the US Mint produced 18.34 million and 27.16 million Presidential Dollars at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, respectively. This seems to be the start of production for the upcoming Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Dollar.

2011 US Mint Coin Production by Design

Denver Phil. Total
Gettysburg Quarter 30.80 M 30.40 M 61.20 M
Glacier Quarter 31.20 M 30.40 M 61.60 M

Andrew Johnson Dollar 37.10 M 35.56 M 72.66 M

The table above shows the coin production levels by design for the America the Beautiful Quarters and Presidential Dollars.

Generally, these numbers are provided when production of a certain design has been completed. However, for the ATB quarters, the US Mint has stated that they may restart production of a design within the year of release if demand exists from their bulk purchase program. Last year, this resulted in the striking of additional Hot Springs and Yellowstone Quarters.

The preliminary production figures for the Glacier National Park Quarter were provided in the latest update, at 31.2 million Denver Mint coins and 30.4 million Philadelphia Mint coins. Total production of 61.6 million is just above the level set for the Gettysburg National Military Park design.


Friday, April 8, 2011

2010 Silver Proof Set Sales Suspended

As the price of silver broke above the $40 per ounce level, the US Mint has suspended sales of the 2010 Silver Proof Set and 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set.

Both of the products are listed on the website as "temporarily unavailable", which suggests a pending price adjustment. Since these products are not covered by the US Mint's more flexible policy covering most numismatic gold and platinum coins, new prices must be published in the Federal Register in order to become effective. This is a more lengthy process that can take several weeks.

Each of the products had a price adjustment on March 18, when the price of silver was $35.15 per ounce. The previous adjustment increased the price of the full set from $56.95 to $64.95, and the quarter set from $32.95 to $39.95.

The 2010 Silver Proof Set contains silver content of 1.33823 troy ounces, which now yields a melt value of $54.41. The sets also include base metal coins with a face value of $5.06 for a realizable value of $59.47.

The 2010 Quarters Silver Proof Set has silver content of 0.90420 ounces, yielding a melt value of $36.76.

(Prices based on $40.66 silver).

The 2011 versions of the sets, which have the same silver content, remain available for sale at $67.95 and $41.95. These levels are $2 and $3 higher than the prices that were in place for the 2010 versions.

Meanwhile, the price of gold is currently trading at $1,474.00 per ounce. London Fix gold prices have been above the $1,450 level since Wednesday. If this level is maintained through next week Wednesday PM, then a pricing adjustment would take place for the remaining available First Spouse Gold Coins and the 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

House Subcommittee Hearing on US Mint Bullion Coin Programs

Today the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology held a hearing entitled, "Bullion Coin Programs of the United States Mint: Can They Be Improved?"

The Chairman was Rep. Ron Paul and witnesses included Beth Deisher, Editor of CoinWorld; Terence Hanlon, President of Dillon Gage Metals Division; Ross Hansen, Founder of Northwest Territorial Mint; and Raymond Nessim, CEO of Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc.

The submitted written testimony of each of the witnesses can be found here. I believe an archived version of the webcast will be available on the same page at a later time.

In this post, I will list some interesting or relevant statements or points from the testimony and the question and answers portion. Some of this is done from memory, so these aren't exact quotes.

- Rep. Paul began the hearing by stating that the shortage of bullion coins is a reflection of what we're doing to our currency. He mentioned that the value of the dollar has fallen from the original 1/20 ounce of gold to 1/1,450 ounce of gold. More people are growing concerned and turning to bullion.

- Rep. Paul asked the witnesses to explain how the US Mint's distribution network for bullion coins works. He specifically asked why he can't go to the US Mint and buy bullion directly. Terence Hanlon responded and explained the distribution network and how the AP's also create a liquid two way market for the program. He discussed the challenges the US Mint would face if they wanted to sell directly to the public. Rep. Paul then asked, doesn't the US Mint sell proof sets directly?

- Beth Deisher discussed the "contrived rarities" created by the United States Mint either through the original distribution, ordering limits, or production limits. Examples cited included the 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle, 2007 First Spouse Gold Coins, and America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. She recommended that the US Mint avoid purposely creating rarities, mint collector versions of bullion coins to demand for a certain number of days, and increase bandwidth for their website. During questioning she also stated that the artificial "one per household" ordering limits imposed by the US Mint don't work since people buy coins in the names of their dogs, cats, and cousins.

-Beth Deisher also discusssed questionable marketing practices in the secondary market for certain US Mint products. Without mentining any grading company by name, she cited the "First Strike" designation. She also mentioned that marketers may seek to identify Silver Eagles struck at the San Francisco Mint (production is expected to begin there in May) and claim that they are different or special. She recommended that the US Mint be more proactive and make consumers more aware of questionable marketing practices. She also recommended including the mint mark on bullion coins.

- Terence Hanlon mentioned that this year is the 25th anniversary of the American Eagle Bullion Coins. At one point, he recommended the creation of a special set including the Gold Eagle, Silver Eagle, Platinum Eagle, and Palladium Eagle. The latter coin he referred to as being introduced this year. (Statements previously provided by the Mint indicated that the Palladium Eagle would be released in 2012 after the completion of the required marketing study.)

- Terence Hanlon also took the opportunity to to recommend that Congress lower the tax rate on precious metals from the current maximum rate of 28% to 15%, to match the taxation of securities and mutual funds. Within the questioning session, he estimated that a more preferential tax treatment could increase bullion sales by 30 to 50%, and increase interest in the precious metals ETFs. The questioner then referred back to the bullion shortage and asked why would we want to make it worse?

- At one point, Terence Hanlon estimated that the US Mint loses about a third of potential bullion sales because they can't meet demand.

- Ross Hansen mentioned that he has offered to supply the US Mint with as many silver blanks as they want, but the former Director (Edmund Moy) declined his offer without explanation. He suggested that the US Mint work to develop a domestic pool of vendors for their raw materials and create an industry advisory group to help with coin production issues.

- Raymond Nessim discussed the distribution requirements imposed by the US Mint for the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. He expressed his opinion that the US Mint made the right decision and their terms and conditions were effective in counteracting the delayed production and limited mintage.

- No representatives of the United States Mint were present at the hearing.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Hot Springs 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin Scheduled

The United States Mint has quietly added the first of the collector versions of the 2010 America the Beautiful 5 ounce Silver Coins to their product release schedule.

Now listed on the schedule with a release date of April 28, 2011 is "2010 America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins – Hot Springs National Park".

Collectors have been eagerly awaiting any details on the low mintage numismatic versions of the 5 ounce silver coins since the original announcement in December 2010. At the time, the US Mint indicated that all of the coins would be struck in 2010, but would not be available for sale until the first quarter of 2011. (The first quarter ended last week on Thursday.)

Since only the Hot Springs coin has been scheduled, it seems that the US Mint will be releasing the coins one at a time.

The US Mint has not yet provided any indication of the pricing for the coins, but it likely won't be anywhere close to the near spot prices that were recently charged by some of the authorized purchasers for the bullion versions of the coins.

There has also been no indication of the ordering limits that the US Mint will impose, but I have the feeling it will be just one per household. Ironically, this would be a stricter limit than imposed for the bullion versions available through the authorized purchasers. Since the limit of one per household for the bullion coins was imposed by each of the nine AP's, collectors could have ordered one set from each AP and stayed within the rules.

On Coin Update
, I previously summarized the known information about the numismatic offering. Each of the 2010 releases has a mintage of 27,000. The coins will include the "P" mint mark and carry a special uncirculated finish created through a vapor blasting technique. In terms of packaging, the coins are
encapsulated in plastic, accompanied by a presentation case and Certificate of Authenticity.


Glacier National Park Quarter Bags and Rolls

Today April 4, 2011, the United States Mint began sales of the Glacier National Park Quarter numismatic bags and rolls. This coincides with the circulation release date for the seventh coin in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

The reverse of the coin features a view of the northeast slope of Mount Reynolds with a mountain goat on rocky slopes in the foreground. This was designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Charles Vickers. The obverse contains the portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan used for all issues of the series.

Following the format of previous offerings, 100-coin bags are available from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint and two roll sets are available containing one roll from each facility. The packaging indicates "Glacier National Park", the state abbreviation, the mint mark, and the face value.

Pricing is double the face value, with the 100-coin bags priced at $49.95 and the two roll sets priced at $39.95.

An official launch ceremony for the Glacier National Park Quarter will be held on April 13, 2011, 1:00 PM ET at Columbia Falls High School in Montana. For anyone able to attend the event, the new quarters are usually available through a coin exchange where $10 rolls can be purchased at face value.

For the America the Beautiful Quarters bags and rolls, the US Mint has indicated that each release will remain available for one year after the start of sales. The Hot Springs National Park Quarter bags and rolls went on sale April 19, 2010. If the US Mint follows through with their statements, sales for the Hot Springs bags and rolls should end in two weeks time.


Friday, April 1, 2011

2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set

Today April 1, 2011, the US Mint began sales of the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set. This set contains the five quarter designs for this year struck in a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper.
The sites featured on this years quarters are Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, Glacier National Park in Montana, Olympic National Park in Washington, Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma. Silver proof versions of each of the coins have already been released as part of the full 2011 Silver Proof Set.

The price of the 2011 quarters silver proof set is $41.95 plus applicable shipping and handling. At the start of the year, the pricing had been announced as $39.95, but the price was adjusted before the release due to the continued rise in the price of silver.

At the same time, the US Mint also adjusted the price of the 2010-dated set from $32.95 to $39.95. This set still remains available for sale.

The value of the silver contained within each 5 coin set is now $34.05 based on the latest figures from This is already up more than $2 from the silver value of the set when the US Mint made the pricing adjustments on March 18.
Coin Update News: 2012 Red Book Review